Are Copper Peptides the Answer to Plump, Hydrated Skin?

Stocksy | Hannah Criswell
Stocksy | Hannah Criswell
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Peruse any shelf in your favorite beauty store — virtual or otherwise — and read the label. Chances are, you'll see many mentions of skin-care ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, vitamin C, and retinol. While you're likely pretty familiar with those buzzwords, it's safe to guess that you're not as acquainted with copper peptides. However, more and more products are taking advantage of copper's powerful properties, so it's time you got a quick lesson on the science and skin care benefits.

Ahead, learn more about copper peptides' benefits for skin, the history behind the ingredient, how to use it, and more, from an expert.

The Science and History of Copper Peptides

Copper peptides were first developed and utilized in products that helped expedite wound healing. But over the last couple of decades, scientists and researchers have studied the ingredient as it pertains to the regeneration of collagen production and antiaging. What they've found has been promising and has led to more brands incorporating copper peptides into products.

"Copper peptides are supported by voluminous scientific research and play an integral role in age prevention skin care regimens," Francine Porter, a product development expert and the founder of Osmotics Cosmetics, tells PS. She explains that copper is something our bodies produce naturally and that it serves as both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. According to the Cleveland Clinic, copper peptides in skin care have been found to not just increase collagen and elastin (the materials responsible for firm, taut skin) but also nix old, damaged collagen and elastin to make way for a more youthful complexion.

The Skin Care Benefits of Copper Peptides

Products utilizing copper peptides are best for those who want to slow down signs of aging. Will it give you an instant facelift? No, the only thing that can do that is, well, a facelift. But according to many researchers, it can improve the quality of your skin.

"Proteins are the key building blocks of most living tissues," says Bella Schneider, a clinical skin care expert and founder of Bella Schneider Beauty. "Copper peptides can help minimize the damage from daily wear and tear of the skin. They also have the potential to improve wrinkles, skin texture firmness, and thickness. Copper peptides are effective against various forms of skin irritation, mainly due to their anti-inflammatory effects."

Products Containing Copper Peptides

There are a myriad of products on the market containing this hero ingredient — copper peptide serums are particularly common. Some popular ones include The Ordinary Multi-Peptide + Copper Peptides 1% Serum ($32), Biossance Squalane + Hyaluronic Acid Copper Peptide Rapid Plumping Serum ($68), Peach & Lily Copper Peptide Pro Firming Serum ($49), and Niod Copper Amino Isolate Serum ($93).

"Remember that many cosmetic ingredients come into popularity in cycles," says Stephen Alain Ko, a cosmetic chemist. "Copper peptides, in combination with retinoic acid, was popular in the mid-2000s as a treatment for acne scarring on online forums."

Additional reporting by Jessica Harrington

Jessica Harrington is the senior beauty editor at POPSUGAR, where she writes about hair, makeup, skin care, piercings, tattoos, and more. As a New York City-based writer and editor with a degree in journalism and over eight years of industry experience, she loves to interview industry experts, keep up with the latest trends, and test new products.